Presentation Trumpet, "Excelsior Hose Company"

Presentation Trumpet, "Excelsior Hose Company"

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Description (Brief)
As more American volunteer fire fighting companies began to form during the late 18th century, a need emerged for better organized efforts in combating conflagrations. Engineers and officers would use “speaking trumpets” to amplify their voices over the noise and commotion of a fire scene to direct the company in effectively fighting the blaze. Two trumpet variants are reflected in the collection: plain and functional “working” trumpets that were actively used at fires, and highly decorated “presentation” trumpets. Presentation trumpets were awarded to firefighters in honor of their service, or between fire companies during visits, competitions, and musters.
This nickel plated speaking trumpet was used by the Director of the Excelsior Hose Company during the 19th century. The trumpet has two raised bands around the lower and upper parts of the shaft. There are two decorative eagle heads protruding from the shaft with rings in their beaks that could be strung with a cord to create a strap or handle. There is a shield shaped emblem in the center of the shaft that bears the inscription “Excelsior Hose Co./ Directors/ Horn.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
nickel plated (overall material)
overall: 18 3/4 in x 7 in; 47.625 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Speaking Trumpets
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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